4 thoughts on “Chapter 4 outline – The Value of Diversity”

  1. One of my favorite quotes I read in The Mosaic of Christian Beliefs by Olson was by Blaise Pascal. I think the original quote “Multiplicity without unity is chaos; unity without multiplicity is tyranny.”

    Olson talks about how if you call anything “Christian” than Christianity means and stands for nothing. If you call only ONE set of beliefs “Christian”, than you have tyranny or legalism. So he tries to find that delicate balance of what is acceptable diversity and when does a particular belief fall into heresy.

    1. I think you’re right: we have to figure out how to maintain some semblance of continuity while being free for people to be and experience in different ways.

  2. Hi, Landon!

    It’s great to see you’re continuing to chip away at this project. The first thing that popped into my head after I read the first sentence was, Don’t forget about the informal leaders as well as formal leaders who aren’t on the board. In many congregations, these folks have even more influence than the board leaders. I’m not sure how you’d want to deal with that (if at all). Perhaps all you need to do is offer a rationale for focusing on the board.

    I.A. Is your point that congregations decide what the board should focus on, structure its work, and choose board members based on this belief?

    I.B. Another possible problem with this approach is that it seems to be based on a narrow definition of “success.” (I think about multiple intelligences here–and the fact that we honor only certain types.)

    II.A. I wouldn’t have identified certain opinions/beliefs as hallmarks of intelligence. Just an observation you may deal with you as you like!

    II.B. Are beliefs/opinions and life experience generally understood as aspects of “demographics”? You might need to provide a rationale for your categories. I also wonder if you need/want to include other categories that are generally viewed as matters of demographics.


    1. I agree about the influence of informal leaders. Part of where I want to go is that the “formal” leaders’ job is to support the “informal” leaders in doing the ministry. Most problems (I’ve found) are because of a power struggle and/or confusion over “who does what.” I hope I’ll be able to offer a viable way out of that cycle.

      I.A. – yes, exactly. Almost every pastor I’ve ever spoken to has heard this (some more than others, obviously), and watched how it has instructed their congregation’s work and self understanding.

      I.B. – Oh, that’s a great point! Right – I can’t immagine that the local playwright ever gets tapped for board service because of their track record of having scripts produced. Good call!

      II.A. – I’m glad you haven’t! It’s usually not a conscious thing, but I’ve found that similar opinions/beliefs seems to correlate to other things we assume to be constituant parts of intelligence.

      II.B. – Probably not. I’m not sure what other word to use, though. I guess I need a word that suggests as much diversity as is available on any spectrum that is important. I see those as worldviews, education level, race, gender, class, life experiences. Got an idea?

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